From my earliest days, my life was shaped in many ways by the music and life example of Harry Chapin. One of Harry's earliest causes, the one that first connected us, was the Performing Arts Foundation, or PAF Playhouse in Huntington New York. (Harry's work in the food, hunger and nutrition areas would come later.) One of PAF's most unique programs was called "Arts in Education." A troupe of specially trained performers would travel from school to school (elementary through high school) and give the students, "hands on" experience with various types of theater. So, what does this story have to do with Veggie U and the upcoming benefit to be held April 30 at The 925 Building in Downtown Cleveland?
Veggie U does for Northeast Ohio public school students (as well in as students in 35 other states and the District of Columbia) what PAF did for Long Island students, except that the medium is food rather than theater. In addition to a hands-on, scientific approach to learning about plants and their components, Veggie U incorporates journal activities, mathematics, and language arts, providing an immersive study of core concepts. The classroom lessons include studies of soil, composting, planting, nutrition and plant anatomy. Students also care for a worm farm, raise a mini "crop," and celebrate the end of the program with a vegetable Feast Day. Chefs are often invited to celebrate Feast Day with the students, and offer recipe demos and instructions on how to prepare and enjoy vegetables all year long.
Just as we raised funds for Arts in Education by attending plays at the PAF Theater, Veggie U raises funds for its program by inviting us to share a meal with them! The Veggie U Food and Wine Celebration will be held April 30, 2016,from 7:00 pm –11:00 pm at The 925 Building, 925 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio.The Proceeds will support the Veggie U Classroom Garden program. According to Veggie U's Executive Director Nadia Clifford, "[l]ocally, Veggie U has been part of the learning process for every Cleveland grade schooler since 2007, as well as hundreds of suburban children." Even as adults, it can be challenging to understand and embrace where our food comes from; how exciting is Veggie U, which extends this important education to our children though a "hands on" program!
Some of my favorite Cleveland Area restaurants will be serving at this event, including Momocho, Dante, Hodge’s, Cork & Cleaver Social Kitchen, Graffiti Social Kitchen, Urban Farmer and AMP 150, together with Edwins and Town Hall, who have just joined (and missed being included in the graphic below), with additional participants expected to be added.
In addition to the food stations, spirits, and music from The Discovery Band, a wine pull and silent auction will round off the evening while providing further opportunities to donate to Veggie U's mission.
The 925 Building (formerly the Huntington Building) is a stunning venue. The space is open as an event venue for a very brief time before the Republican National Convention, after which it will shut down for renovation. The Veggie U Food & Wine Celebration will be a unique opportunity to enjoy the space in all of its glory.
Tickets for the Veggie U Food and Wine Celebration are $100 per person, which includes valet parking. To purchase tickets and learn more about the event, visit VeggieUFWC2016.eventbrite.com or call 440.774.8344. But one lucky reader of Fun Playing With Food will win a pair of tickets right here! Just follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter box below and leave a comment on this blog post with your favorite spring dish.
You have until TUESDAY, April 26TH at 11:59PM to enter. A winner will be announced the next morning on this blog’s Facebook page and on this blog. As this is a venue specific to downtown Cleveland, please don't enter if you cannot use the prize, unless you could share it with someone who could use it. Winner must be at least 21 years of age.